In every article I have read, it has been said that Gavin Rees has a big ‘problem’. This is obviously in reference to the alias of WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner.I cannot disagree and argue otherwise. If you have witnessed the rise of Broner you would agree that the champion, although brash and arrogant, has the skills to head the next generation of boxers. In the early hours of Sunday morning, Welshman Gavin Rees will try to dispel the myth that Broner is the next superstar of this entertaining sport by beating him in front of the millions watching. Can Rees deliver a shock that will define his career? Or does Adrien Broner put down another stone in his path to reach the top of the sport?
Like so many before him, Adrien Broner’s persona sometimes gains more attention than his fights. The self-confident language, the gimmick of having his hair brushed and the pre fight cockiness has defined his as one of the most must see boxer of today. His bustling career has amassed a record of 25 wins from 25 fights, with 21 of those victories coming by way of stoppage. His rigid defence, slick feet movement and hand speed make it very difficult for an opponent to ‘hit and not get hit’. Let’s take his last fight against Antonio DeMarco, fellow elite of the lightweight division. This was billed as a very competitive fight but on the night the challenger, Broner gave a performance that was immensely one-sided it had to be stopped in the 8th round. The first few rounds saw the American measure his opponent but when DeMarco put his foot on the accelerator, Broner was there to meet him. The majority of the fight took place inside. The champion tried to rough up his opponent, break him down and put him off his game plan. DeMarco did only what Demarco knew, which was to brawl. This was a vital mistake as the speed and accuracy of Broner meant that he could aim at a steady target of his opponents head. Throughout the night ‘the can man’ kept pinging the Mexicans head with vicious straight rights and accurate hooks. When the damage was done the 23 year old decided to take his attack downstairs with ripping body shots that were slowly breaking down the champion. The fight was stopped in the 8th round as the referee felt that DeMarco was no longer in a condition to fight. The victory sent a message. Although the road had been bumpy with struggles against Ponce De Leon and Fernando Quintero, that victory has definitely solidified him as one of the top lightweights today.
In the other corner is former world titlist and current EBU lightweight champion Gavin Rees. Rees is not known to many across the pond but the Welshman has gained the reputation of a brave and persistent fighter who overcomes the underdog tag. The Rock has not thrown a punch but has been written off. The 32 year old has lost once and drawn once in 39 fights and has stopped 14 of his opponents. His only defeat came against Andriy Kotelnyk in his first defence of the WBA light welterweight title. The challenger on this occasion, Rees has majority of the time campaigned at light welterweight but has moved down to lightweight in his last few fights. The Welshman’s last fight was a rematch with Liverpudlian Derry Mathews in the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. This was a much anticipated domestic clash as the first fight had ended in a draw. The deciding factor was the power of the rock. Mathews was getting off some very good shots cleanly on his opponent but Rees was able to take the punches without flinching. The majority of the fight saw some good work between the two fighters. Rees was ending the rounds on top, while Derry Mathews was countering effectively. The difference was that Gavin Rees had more power in his punches and the effects were visible as they hurt the Scouser on numerous occasions. In the latter rounds, Rees could see his opponent tiring and with his ‘bulldog’ type pressure he was landing more and more, not giving Mathews a chance to recuperate or hide. In the 9th round the pressure overcomes Mathews and with a simple combination, Rees manages to knock down his opponent, as which point the referee waves off the fight. A very good fight between two battling warriors, that has now given the Rock an opportunity of a lifetime as he now battles for world honours once again.
The recipe for success is not clear cut for Gavin Rees. The perception is that he is a pressure fighter but on numerous occasions he can show astute boxing ability. If he decides to approach the fight the same way Antonio DeMarco did then the fight becomes very much a brawler vs a boxer and Rees’ night could end before it has even started. The Welshman needs to use a mixture of boxing ability and EDUCATED pressure. The reason I have capitalised ‘educated’ is because it is vital that Rees knows what he is doing and understands when to pressure his opponent instead of charging like an angry bull. Timing will be vital as Broner has hand speed that cannot be matched. If Rees uses his bulldog like pressure early, he could ruffle the feathers of Broner but he must not let his opponent settle otherwise he is in for a painful night. On the other hand Adrien Broner needs to do what Adrien Broner always does. A tight defence, superior foot movement and blistering hand speed. If Broner was to capitalise and settle down this could mirror the fight with DeMarco. What he must not do is underestimate his opponent like he has said so in his prefight press conferences. Personally I feel that the Americans stance will make a huge difference. If Rees cannot sustain a body attack or land cleanly on the upper body through this unique defence system, then it will be a very frustrating night. Broner has the skills and the power to end this early, whether he does will be up to him but this will be a perfect time for the champion to send a message of to Scotland’s Ricky Burns by impressively dismantling Rees. The older of the two fighters has tasted success before on the world stage but after one fight he was lost that title. Having that taste of a title, Rees will surely want to be known as a world champion once again. Which doesn’t make this as one sided as it may seem.
My prediction is Adrien Broner by a late stoppage.
Weights: Adrien Broner – 134 Pounds
Gavin Rees – 134.5 Pounds